Special Forces Command (Dowództwo Wojsk Specjalnych)
Special Forces Command (Dowództwo Wojsk Specjalnych) headquartered in Cracow was established in January 2007. Directly subordinate to the Chief of the General Staff was composed of special unit "GROM", the 1st Special Regiment from Lubliniec and Naval Group "Formoza". Other formations were subsequentlyl added.
Polish Special Operations Forces is the youngest and most dynamically growing branch of the Polish military. It obtained the status of a separate branch on 24 May 2007. Currently, Special Operations Forces are dedicated to the full spectrum of special operations both internally and abroad, in a time of peace, crisis and war. In 2013 Poland became a NATO special operations framework nation which meant its readiness to provide NATO with the special operations component and to assume the command of all allied special operations.
The structure of POL SOF is based on independent units manned with specially ed, trained and equipped soldiers, ready to operate in the highest risk environments. At present, POL SOF structure comprises the following units: SOF Unit GROM, SOF Unit COMMANDO, SOF Unit FORMOZA, SOF Unit NIL and SOF Unit AGAT. POL SOF operations are supported by the 7th Special Operations Aviation Squadron, the air component detached from the Air Force. All these units are subordinate to Special Operations Component Command (SOCC) located in Krakow. POL SOCC personnel is the core of the NRF Special Operations Component Command and together with other attached Task Forces performed duties as a part of the NRF stand-by period 2015. POL SOCC is subordinate directly to the General Commander of the Polish Armed Forces. Additionally, POL SOF Inspectorate was established within the structures of the Polish Armed Forces General Command, and made responsible for POL SOF training and long term planning of special forces development.
Special Operations Forces Inspectorate
POL SOF Inspectorate is a part of the Polish Armed Forces General Command, with the Special Operations Forces Inspector in charge. POL SOF Inspectorate is responsible for managing POL SOF and their resources for combat operations in accordance with their purpose. POL SOF Inspectorate objectives include: coordinating and uting POL SOF domestic and foreign activities. It also deals with planning and programming POL SOF long term development, coordinating and supervising POL SOCC staff and units training process as well as setting the guidelines of individual training and development of POL SOF military personnel.
SOF Unit GROM - Operational-Manoeuver Response Group
Officially Special Missions Unit GROM was established 13 July 1990, and achieved full combat readiness in 1992. Since its formation, GROM drew on experiences of the best British and American units. Its purpose, ion methods and training bring about the comparison with American Delta Force or British Special Air Service (SAS). However, GROM operators themselves do not like such associations. Joint training, and operations conducted together with the best SOF units in the world, guarantee exchange of experience and lead to better combat preparation for the future. From the very beginning GROM was meant to be used for counter terrorist, special reconnaissance, diversion and rescue actions. The main aim of training, however, is hostage rescue operations, which is the main purpose of makes GROM the only unit in Poland skilled for handling such operations.
The training system of GROM operators concentrates on three major areas:
- counter terrorist land operations (so-called “black tactics”), i.e. freeing hostages from static or mobile objects, providing VIP security, operational security of military and non-military agencies;
- land special operations (so-called “green tactics”) special reconnaissance, destroying targets in the deep enemy rear, eliminating potential personal and technical threats in the enemy structure, participating in the mass evacuation;
- maritime anti-terrorist operations (so-called “blue tactics”), aimed at combating terrorist attacks at the juncture of the land and sea as well as floating platforms and oil rigs.
GROM soldiers served in Haiti, Kosovo, Slavonia, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1994 it participated in the mission of the allied forces on Haiti as well as in search of the war criminals on the territory of former Yugoslavia. Special Missions Unit GROM continues the heritage of “Cichociemni” (“Dark and Silent”) Polish Home Army Paratroopers and in September 1995 was named after them.
GROM is a formation that depending on needs can perform typical reconnaissance and sabotage tasks. Its members also have skills useful in complex rescue operations aimed at rescuing hostages from terrorists. They are also prepared for marine operations (on vessels and drilling rigs). These operations are considered to be the most difficult. They operate in four-person teams. Each soldier is a professional in the field of special operations. They undergo arduous training in parachuting and diving. Candidates applying to serve in the GROM have to pass psychological and endurance tests and the so called truth test, i.e. exhausting physically and psychologically field test during which the weakest fail. GROM soldiers train together with the best special units in the world. By the specialists they are classified on the par with the American Delta Force or British SAS.
SOF Unit COMMANDO
1ST Special Commando Regiment (aka JWK )
1 PSK is a fully professional force composed entirely of highly trained and selected soldiers, including women. The 1 Pulk Specjalny Komandosów, along with the GROM unit and the Morska Jednostka Dzialan Specjalnych (Naval Special Operations Unit) “Formoza” frogmen unit, is part of Wojska Specjalne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. All three Republic of Poland SF units have special operations command – Dowództwo Wojsk Specjalnych.
The unit and its history date back to 1957 when the Commander of the 6th Pomeranian Airborne Division decided to form a reconnaissance company. The Regiment carries on the traditions of several World War II special mission units. These units, organised with the assistance of the U.S. and Britain, consisted of the 2nd Commando Battalion, the Special Motorised Battalion, the “Parasol” (Umbrella) and “Zoska” Sabotage Battalion.
In 1961 on the basis of that company the fully independent 26th Reconnaissance Battalion was established. In 1964 they were transferred from Krakow to Dziwnow, changing their name to the 1st Assault Battalion. Another transfer happened in 1986 when the battalion was moved to Lubliniec to be transformed again in 1993 into 1st Special Forces Regiment.
Prior to 1994, the Regiment was composed of a single battalion 1 Samodzielny Batalion Szturmowy, but it was later organised into three special detachments and a frogmen company. Each detachment is composed of three companies, which are divided into three platoons. Each platoon contains 3 six-man teams, giving the unit a total strength of approximately 90 operational teams, plus support staff.
In 1995 the regiment received a distinguishing name “COMMANDO”. In 2011 the name was changed again to COMMANDO SOF Unit.
The unit is characterized by very high training levels owing to the special training system that has been introduced in Polish units for several years. Typical activities trained in the 1st Commando Regiment soldiers are: group landing from a helicopter, reconnaissance activities, ambushes, attack and retreat, camouflage, frogmen attack and parachuting, unarmed and armed combat, 40-kilometer marches in full gear. The unit aims to become fully professional. Soldiers are also trained in activities behind the front line, espionage data collection, reconnaissance, defensive raids and hostage rescue. Candidates first go through basic training and then a 3-month school for young specialists. Later 6-person special groups are created.
The unit is dedicated to the whole spectrum of special land operations (including inland waters). It fulfills various tasks of both operational and strategic character in Poland and abroad. COMMANDO operators served in Macedonia, Congo, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan they conducted ISAF operation priorities i.e. training and preparing the local security forces as well as providing assistance during counterterrorist actions. Training and support provided by COMMANDO soldiers helped Afghan operators from special operations police units become one of the first to reach combat readiness to conduct operations independently.
COMMANDO SOF Unit continues the tradition of the following Polish special formations: the 1st Independent “Commando” Company, the 62nd Special “Commando” Company in Boleslawiec, Polish Independent Special Battalion, Polish Home Army Battalions: “Parasol”, “Zoska” and “Miotla”, and the 1st Assault Battalion in Dziwnow.
The regiment has been quite active, with troops being deployed to support NATO operations in the Republic of Macedonia during the Kosovo conflict. A 13-man detachment was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Polish support for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
SOF Unit FORMOZA
The beginnings of SOF Unit FORMOZA take us back to 1975, when the Frogmen Department was formed within the structures of the Polish Navy and became a part of the 3rd Naval Vessel Fleet in Gdynia. Given its special purpose, it obtained a classified status and was named Special Operations Department. The navy divers' research group was established to draw up a concept for the organisation and formation of a special division of naval frogmen. Its first commander was a retired certified commander, Józef Rembisz. The tasks and name of the group have changed several times. Initially, it operated as an independent unit, to be subordinated after fifteen years to the commander of the Group of Reconnaissance Ships constituting a part of the 3rd Flotilla of Ships in Gdynia.
Until December 2007 it was located within the structures of the Polish Navy, changing its name to Special Naval Frogmen Groups, Special Operations Sections and finally Naval Special Operations Unit. In January 2008 the group came under subordination of Special Forces Command. "Formoza" is designed to run special operations in times of peace, crisis and war. Its basic tasks include carrying out operations at sea, under water and in on-shore facilities.
In October 2011 it was renamed SOF Unit FORMOZA. The unit is dedicated to the full spectrum of maritime special operations but it may also be used in mixed - water and land environments. FORMOZA operators participated in combat missions in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. In 2013 the commander of FORMOZA became the first POL SOF officer to be appointed the Chief of Staff of NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan. In February 2014 FORMOZA was named after general Wlodzimierz Potasinski, former POL SOF Commander (2007-2010) and the father of POL SOF operators’ worldwide reputation and success.
SOF Unit NIL
The unit was formed on 2 December 2008 as POL SOF Support and Supply Unit.
In October 2011 it changed its name to SOF Unit NIL. Its major responsibilities are intelligence, command and communication support, logistic and medical support of all special operations carried out internally and abroad, nationally and within allied framework. The unit is on constant stand-by, ready to provide command, information and logistic support elements in order to assist all SOCC subordinate units in their mission success. As a logistic unit, NIL is also responsible for all public procurement of equipment, electronics and armament for POL SOF. Military Unit NIL soldiers participated in ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The unit is named after general August Emil Fieldorf “Nil” and inherited the tradition of the Polish Home Army Directorate for Diversion “KEDYW”.
SOF Unit AGAT
It is the youngest unit in POL SOF structure. It was formed on 30 June 2011 on the basis of disbanded Special Military Police Unit in Gliwice. SOF Unit AGAT is an assault type unit designated for land direct actions, providing military support, counterterrorist operations support and operational security of critical infrastructure. AGAT is able to conduct special operations independently or by detaching its elements for SOF task groups. Its soldiers undergo thorough training in all types of environment and climate, e.g. the Alps, the Himalayas or French Guiana, which prepares them to function in adverse and harsh conditions. Military Unit AGAT inherited the tradition of the Polish Home Army Combat Diversion Unit “Agat” (anti Gestapo). In 2012 the unit was named after general Stefan Rowecki “Grot” – former Polish Home Army Commander.
7th Special Operations Aviation Squadron
This unit, created in 2011 and dedicated to support POL SOF operations, is a part of the Polish Air Force. Its formation was a consequence of multinational agreements within NATO. The 7th Special Operations Aviation Squadron is a part of the 33rd Air Transport Base stationed in Powidz. It is an air platform offering transportation and air combat support for POL SOF, if necessary. The helicopters’ crews were trained in the USA to be able to handle the specific nature of special operations. The personnel has the ability to fly with SOF operators on board on low altitudes, in extreme weather conditions and using night vision. The squadron’s soldiers participate in all trainings organized by POL SOF units, they did tours of duty in Afghanistan. Many pilots, currently working in the squadron, have served in Iraq and Chad.
Military Police Special Unit (GS Zandarmerja Wojkowa)
Military Counterinteligence Special Unit NKK
Military Inteligence Special Unit X-2K
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